Independence: Croatia Marks Statehood Day

Total Croatia News

On this day in 1991, Croatia decided to separate from Yugoslavia and become an independent state.

On Sunday, Croatia celebrates the Statehood Day, marking the 26th anniversary of the declaration of independence and sovereignty. The Statehood Day is celebrated on this day because on 25 June 1991 the Parliament adopted a historic decision to initiate the separation process from other republics of the then Yugoslavia, based on the will of citizens expressed in a referendum held on 19 May 1991, reports on June 25, 2017.

“With pleasure and pride, we make known to all the republics and federal bodies of Yugoslavia, and we announce to the whole world the sovereign will of the Croatian people and all citizens of the Republic that today we proclaim the Republic of Croatia to be an independent and sovereign state. We invite all the governments and parliaments of all states to accept and recognise the act made on the basis of the free decision of the Croatian people, the act of liberty by which one more nation wants to become a full member of the international community of the free world,” said then Croatian President Franjo Tuđman.

Following the pressure of the international community, a few weeks later the Brijuni Declaration was signed. It introduced a three-month moratorium on the implementation of the decision passed on 25 June. The decision finally came into effect on 8 October, and that day is celebrated as the Independence Day.

At the time, Croatia was under an armed aggression by Serb extremists and the Yugoslav National Army. About one-quarter of the Croatian state territory was under occupation, and the Croatian people rose to defend its newly-independent country, which suffered heavy destruction and numerous human casualties.

The majority of the occupied areas were freed in 1995 by two military and police operations, Flash and Storm, while the remaining occupied area in Eastern Slavonia was peacefully reintegrated into the constitutional and legal order of Croatia in 1998.

Croatia has been a full member of NATO since 1 April 2009 and of the European Union since 1 July 2013.

Until 2001, the Statehood Day was marked on 30 May, in memory of the first sitting of the first multi-party parliament in 1990. That day is now marked as the Day of the Croatian Parliament and is no longer an official holiday.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and other officials laid wreaths and lit candles at the Mirogoj Cemetery at the memorial for Croatian veterans killed during the Homeland War. Later, they attended a mass at the Zagreb Cathedral led by Cardinal Josip Bozanić, the Archbishop of Zagreb.

In the evening, the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb will perform “Ero the Joker”, a famous Croatian opera, at an open stage at King Tomislav Square in Zagreb.

The official celebrations will also include a traditional reception in the Office of the President.


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